A man’s left cheek was reportedly removed after a mosquito bite on his face became infected.
The patient, identified by Asia Wire only as Mr. Hu from Shenyang, China, was bitten by a mosquito while vacationing in the southern Chinese provide of Hainan in September.
At first, the bite appeared harmless — until Hu scratched it with dirty hands. A few days later, the bite was swollen and full of pus.
Hu returned to Shenyang and sought treatment at the General Hospital of Shenyang Military, according to Asia Wire.
Dr. Liu Zhongbo, a burn and plastic surgery specialist at the hospital, treated Hu for what he determined to be a bacterial infection. He claims the bite had become so swollen that the man was unable to open his left eye.
“A closer inspection revealed that the infection had already reached the bone,” Zhongbo told the news outlet. “The tissue on his face had become necrotic, and he was at risk of sepsis.”
Though mosquito bites typically clear on their own, infections can occur, especially if the insect’s victim scratches the bite.
Infections — specifically those known as cellulitis, which the Cleveland Clinic describes as a “bacterial infection of the skin and this tissue around it” — typically occur when bacteria from a person’s hands enter the affected area.
Symptoms of cellulitis typically include swelling of the lymph nodes, a “wide-spreading redness” around the bite, pus or drainage, chills, and fever (typically above 100 degrees F), among other signs, per the Cleveland Clinic.
“Scratching the bite to the point of bleeding can open the door for a bacterial skin infection to develop. This commonly occurs in children whose nails are understandably dirty from playing outside, though it also happens in adults,” Allison Folger, a family nurse practitioner at the Cleveland Clinic, said.
As for Hu, the bacterial infection had reportedly become so severe that it reached his cheekbone, forcing Zhongbo to surgically remove the man’s left cheek and replaced it with a skin graft from the back of one of his patient’s hands.
Hu has since been discharged from the hospital, Asia Wire reports.
Certain over-the-counter creams can assuage itching from mosquito bites.